Goal Setting for Employees

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Goals will have more meaning for employees if you let them participate in the goal-setting process. Instead of telling them what you want them to achieve, let them cooperate in setting mutually beneficial performance goals whenever possible. Employees are generally more motivated when they’re working toward goals that they set for themselves or that they have participated in setting. 

Developing Employee Commitment

  • Define the objective or project to be completed. Then, tell the employee what you want to accomplish . . . reduced costs, improved performance, increased production, better customer service or whatever. If goals are being set for a particular project, review the project as a whole and then focus the discussion on the employee’s role and how that role will be important to the success of your department. 
  • Identify the specific target or standard to be reached and encourage suggestions on how the goal can be achieved. Even if you have clear performance or productivity standards in mind, the employee is far more likely to strive for a goal that he or she has helped to establish. 
  • Establish goal priorities. For all but the most routine, repetitive jobs, multiple goals will probably be necessary. It’s essential that your employees know which of the goals they’re working toward are the most important and why. 
  • Feedback plays an important role in developing employee commitment. If the employee is doing something right, he or she should know it. If the worker is doing something wrong, you must make the person aware of the need for corrective action. 
  • While some employees will respond enthusiastically to the goal-setting process, others may require a little prodding. As a supervisor, it’s your job to see that your employees develop a real commitment to achieving the goals you’ve established together. This will be easier if the goals are fair and reasonable, and if you’ve shown your employees how they stand to benefit from goal achievement.